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The Battleground (Who Destroyed Megiddo? Was It David Or Shishak?)
Bibical Archaeology ^ | 10-23-2003 | Timothy P. Harrison

Posted on 10/23/2003 4:49:06 PM PDT by blam

The Battleground

Who Destroyed Megiddo? Was It David or Shishak?

Timothy P. Harrison

Sidebar: Megiddo at A Glance

Did King David conquer and destroy Megiddo? Well, that depends partly on the date of Stratum VI. Let me explain why.

Most scholars accept David as a historical figure who was an active military ruler in the period portrayed in the Hebrew Bible (the early tenth century B.C.E.). However, there is considerably less agreement on how to interpret the archaeological evidence for this period. That’s where Megiddo Stratum VI figures in. The dispute is over which archaeological material relates to the time of David’s reign, or, more specifically, over establishing the chronological connections that permit us to link the archaeological record to the events described in the Bible.

And Megiddo Stratum VI is the key.

Until recently, most scholars dated Stratum VI to the period just before the time of David, making him a candidate for its destruction; a later stratum would then represent the town of David and Solomon. However, in a series of articles,1 as well as in a recent interview in this magazine,* the head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology, Israel Finkelstein, has argued forcefully that Megiddo Stratum VI should be dated to the period of David and Solomon (otherwise known as the United Monarchy). Stratum VI was destroyed, he contends, by the Egyptian Pharaoh Sheshonq I, the Shishak of the Bible (1 Kings 14:25-26; 2 Chronicles 12:2-9).

All scholars agree that Sheshonq/Shishak cut a devastating swath through Israel in about 925 B.C.E. A list of towns he conquered and destroyed is inscribed in a poorly preserved hieroglyphic inscription in the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. More than 50 towns are named, including Megiddo.

If Stratum VI was destroyed in 925 B.C.E., as Finkelstein contends, then it dates to the time of David and Solomon, or the United Monarchy. As I shall show, however, a later stratum preserves the destruction of Sheshonq/Shishak. Stratum VI therefore must have been destroyed earlier—by someone else, perhaps King David.

Why is this important? Put simply, the outcome of this debate has a direct bearing on our understanding of the historical development of the early Israelite Monarchy. If Finkelstein is correct, the cultural activities of the United Monarchy will be reflected in the remains of Stratum VI (and contemporaneous strata at other sites). If the traditional understanding is correct, however, then we must trace the historical development of the United Monarchy from evidence preserved in later strata.

Ancient Megiddo (Tell el-Mutesellim) sits at a strategic point along the corridor that the Levant forms between Egypt and Mesopotamia, where for millenia economic goods, peoples and ideas have passed. It is located at the entrance to the Wadi ’Arah, a key pass through the Mount Carmel Range that obstructs the north-south trunk route traversing the region.

In the 15th century B.C.E., Pharaoh Thutmosis III, the great empire builder of New Kingdom Egypt, campaigned north to subdue a coalition of rebellious principalities led by the city of Kadesh, on the Orontes River in modern Syria. His major obstacle was Megiddo, which had joined the Kadesh coalition. “The capture of Megiddo is as the capturing of a thousand cities,” the pharaoh said. He was successful, but only after a protracted siege of the defiant town. Over the centuries, Megiddo witnessed the passing of numerous invading armies and military campaigns, securing for itself a prominent place in the historical memory of the region, and earning it the apocalyptic designation as the scene of the final conflagration, the Armageddon of the Bible.

The basic stratigraphic sequence at Megiddo was established during the large-scale excavations conducted by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago between 1925 and 1939. Although the sequence has been refined over the years, it still remains fundamental to our understanding of the archaeology of the region. The precise chronologies for many of the individual cultural strata, however, continue to be hotly debated. Stratum VI is a case in point.

The stratigraphic sequence of an ancient settlement provides us with only a relative chronology. It tells us which stratum was earlier and which was later. The deeper we go, the earlier we get. To arrive at an absolute chronology (a specific time), we need additional lines of evidence, such as radiocarbon data or an event of known date derived from a historical (that is, a textual) source. In the case of Stratum VI, was it destroyed by Sheshonq/Shishak, as Finkelstein contends, or was it destroyed earlier, perhaps by King David?

As it appears in the Oriental Institute’s preliminary excavation reports, Stratum VI was a rather poorly preserved phase. It turns out that most of the data on the excavated stratum never found its way into these initial publications, which were not intended as final reports. Detailed archival records of the Oriental Institute’s excavations reveal that Stratum VI was in fact remarkably well-preserved, having been destroyed by fire. Photographs depict articulated human skeletons in various contorted poses, obviously killed by falling debris, with rooms full of smashed pottery vessels, and burnt wooden pillar supports still standing in place. Clearly, destruction was both swift and complete, freezing the settlement as it existed at the time of this event.

Moreover, the horizontal exposure of Stratum VI was considerable—about 75,000 square feet when all excavation areas are combined, or over 10 percent of the entire site. The well-preserved remains of Stratum VI, therefore, offer an extensive and revealing glimpse of town life during the cultural period represented by this stratum.

How the unpublished records of Megiddo Stratum VI were rediscovered is a story in itself. It begins with a graduate seminar organized by the late Douglas Esse at the University of Chicago in the fall of 1988. In preparing for the seminar, Esse noticed an inconsistency between unpublished archival records and the existing published reports. Later, during the summer of 1990, while examining the Oriental Institute photo archives, he came across images depicting the well-preserved remains of a violently destroyed settlement—part of an extensive record of unpublished material documenting the destruction of Stratum VI. Realizing that a considerable portion of the stratum remained unpublished, Esse began gathering these records, intending to produce a monograph on Megiddo Stratum VI. He was working on this project at the time of his death in the fall of 1992.2 I was one of Esse’s former students, and in 1997 the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications awarded me a grant to complete the project.3

The greatest exposure of Stratum VI occurred in 1934, when an archaeologist named P.L.O. Guy was director of the Oriental Institute’s expedition. He was assisted by Robert Lamon and Geoffrey Shipton. During the off-season, however, the director of the Oriental Institute, the eminent Egyptologist James Henry Breasted, dismissed Guy. Breasted was dissatisfied primarily with the slow progress of the excavations.

Guy was replaced by Gordon Loud, who moved quickly to accelerate the pace of the project, shifting excavation strategy from the horizontal exposures preferred by Guy, to the more confined trenches still visible today. With Guy no longer actively involved in the project, however, the Stratum VI material was soon forgotten. Although some of the Stratum VI pottery did make it into the final report of the ensuing 1935 through 1939 seasons, no work was ever done on the stratigraphy, explaining why the context of this pottery is only minimally described.4

To determine the date of Stratum VI we must turn first to the immediately preceding Stratum VII, which also came to an abrupt and catastrophic end. Two hieroglyphic inscriptions help us date this stratum. The first was found on an ivory pen case that bears the cartouche of Ramesses III. From other sources, his reign is dated securely to the 12th century B.C.E., between 1182 and 1151 B.C.E. The second inscription is on the base of a bronze statue. It bears the cartouche of Ramesses VI, who also reigned in the 12th century B.C.E., from 1141 to 1133 B.C.E. Though found in Stratum VIIB, the statue base almost certainly was deposited during the life of Stratum VIIA, presumably just prior to its destruction. The destruction of Stratum VIIA must therefore have occurred after the reigns of these two pharaohs, sometime in the second half of the 12th century B.C.E. In archaeological terms, this period marks the end of the Late Bronze Age city of Megiddo. The next cultural stratum at Megiddo, Stratum VI, represents the first Iron Age settlement, what archaeologists call Iron Age I, which is generally dated from about 1200 B.C.E. to 1000 B.C.E.

The demise of Late Bronze Age Megiddo (Stratum VIIA) provides dramatic evidence of the decline of the Egyptian empire. Egyptian withdrawal created a power vacuum that enabled new social forces, economic ties and political alliances to emerge—the Philistines (one of the Sea Peoples), the early Israelites, and the Canaanite inhabitants of the surviving Late Bronze Age cities were all part of the new mix. And this is amply reflected in the archaeology of Megiddo Stratum VI.

Whether Stratum VI was a lingering Canaanite enclave, an outpost of Philistine expansion or an early Israelite settlement has been hotly debated ever since the Oriental Institute first uncovered the stratum. The answer may be that it was all three—and more.

Surveys in the central hill country of Canaan reveal an explosion of small sedentary settlements—between 250 and 300 of them—during Iron Age I. Descriptions in the Book of Judges (see Judges 1:19 and following) indicate that this was precisely the territory settled by the early Israelites. These settlements reflect a pattern of dispersed agrarian communities engaged in basic subsistence, a rather striking departure from the far more affluent and less insular city-state culture of the preceding Late Bronze Age.

The coastal lowlands, meanwhile, experienced a decidedly different pattern of settlement. There the archaeological record reflects the settlement of the migrating Sea Peoples, including the Biblical Philistines, who formed a pentapolis around the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. In addition, Late Bronze Age Canaanite communities, linked to the preceding era of Egyptian domination, continued as isolated enclaves interspersed along the principal transit corridors through the region.

The effect of these disparate settlement processes was the creation of a mosaic of culturally distinct communities, each striving to maintain viability in a dynamic and increasingly competitive environment. While distinct sociopolitical entities did eventually emerge, intermingling was also pervasive, as is evident in the archaeological remains excavated at Megiddo.

The pottery of Megiddo Stratum VI reflects a diverse mix of potting traditions, including Cypriot, Phoenician and Philistine.5 In one large complex, Building 2072, excavators found an exceptional example of Philistine pottery, the “Orpheus Jug” (so called because of its Orpheus-like figure who plays a harp before an assembly of animals.).6 Building 2072 also produced a stamp seal that has been identified recently as a Philistine anchor seal;7 two offering stands, found in an adjacent room, suggest a cultic function for the room.

The northernmost side room in Building 2072 contained more than 20 perforated cylindrical loomweights, associated with weaving activity. Many of these loomweights had the slightly pinched mid-section characteristic of non-perforated loomweights commonly found at Philistine sites such as Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron. Described as “spoolweights,” these clay cylinders have links to Cypriot and Aegean weaving traditions.8

Interestingly, buildings with plans and architectural features similar to Building 2072 have been uncovered at several other Iron Age I sites in the vicinity of Megiddo. These include a two-building complex at ’En Hagit (on Mount Carmel), a cluster of buildings at Tell Keisan (Stratum 9a-c), the so-called “Oil Maker’s House” at Yokneam (Stratum XVII) and a number of possible buildings in Area D at Tell Qiri (Stratum VIII). This geographical distribution has raised the prospect of a shared lowland architectural tradition.9

More specifically, it is possible that Building 2072 reflects a distinctively Philistine presence at Megiddo. Architectural evidence from Early Iron Age Philistine levels at Ekron (Tel Miqne) would seem to support this interpretation. Excavations at Ekron have uncovered a large structure, Building 350, which excavators have dated to the 11th century B.C.E.10 Part of a larger complex, Building 350 consisted of a partially roofed central hall flanked on its east by a row of three smaller rooms. As with Building 2072, the side rooms produced a wealth of pottery and small finds, including non-perforated cylindrical loomweights (in the northern room) and the remains of a cultic shrine in the central room. The similarity in plan, size and methods of construction evident between these two buildings at Megiddo and Ekron, as well as the types of associated small finds and their distribution, argues in favor of a shared cultural tradition.

Shortly before his dismissal in 1934, Guy uncovered an extensive residential neighborhood along the southern edge of the tell.11 In contrast to Building 2072, the houses in this area were furnished with rows of wooden posts used as roof supports, an architectural feature reminiscent of the pillared houses commonly found in the Iron Age I highland settlements usually attributed to the early Israelites. Many of these houses also contained large saddle querns and grinders, ovens, bins and stone-lined pits (or silos), as well as large quantities of collared-rim storage jars (pithoi) and other vessel types traditionally associated with early Israelite highland material culture.12

The cultural diversity exhibited in these material remains underscores the fluid social and economic ties that linked Megiddo with its neighbors. Megiddo, in effect, probably served as a neutral location where these disparate communities could bring their products to market.13 In short, Megiddo Stratum VI appears to have been a remarkably heterogeneous community comprised of individuals from widely varying social and cultural backgrounds who found themselves drawn together by the powerful forces at work in the rapidly changing world of the Iron Age I period.

Stratum VI ended suddenly and catastrophically. The extent of the devastation is captured in graphic photographs taken during the excavations and described in vivid detail by Guy in his correspondence with Breasted:

There had obviously been a disaster of some sort in VI, of which the fire was the culmination, and that disaster may have been either a battle or an earthquake. In the course of it a number of people had perished. Some skeletons were found crushed under walls in positions of obvious agony, but a number of others had been buried ... It looked as if survivors had come back after the catastrophe and had left where they were those bodies which had been hidden by fallen walls but had hastily buried those who were visible ... The disaster, whatever it was, had been pretty sudden, for most of the rooms contained very large quantities of pottery in situ, and this gave us a most representative collection of types.14

So who destroyed this settlement?

This question has long been a topic of intense speculation and debate. William Foxwell Albright, the dean of American Biblical archaeologists until his death in 1971, credited the establishment of Stratum VI to the Israelites’ expansion, following their victory in the Jezreel Valley against a Canaanite coalition, as immortalized in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5). Albright dated this conflict, which we are told occurred “by the waters of Megiddo” (Judges 5:19), to 1125 B.C.E. According to him, the destruction of the Stratum VI settlement then occurred sometime during the mid-11th century (about 1050 B.C.E.) or later, presumably a result of the northward expansion of the Philistines.15

The staff of the Chicago expedition, however, strongly disputed Albright’s characterization and dating of the stratum. They preferred to emphasize the Late Bronze Age Canaanite connections evident in the pottery and other material culture, and attributed its violent end to natural causes, possibly an earthquake, which they dated to the end of the 12th century B.C.E.16

The German scholar Carl Watzinger was the first to link the devastation of Stratum VI to the 925 B.C.E. campaign of Shishak I.17 Shishak’s reign marked a brief resurgence of Egyptian military and economic power in the Levant.

Although scholars have continued to debate the cultural character of the Stratum VI settlement, over the intervening years most have chosen to follow Albright’s mid- to late-11th century B.C.E. date for its destruction. In a passing reference made in 1951, however, the distinguished Israeli historian Benjamin Mazar suggested that the destruction of Megiddo Stratum VI should be attributed to the military campaigns of David.18

The key to resolving this debate lies in the strata that seal Stratum VI. Immediately above the destruction debris of Stratum VI were the fragmented remains of Stratum VB. Superimposed on this occupational phase, in turn, and in large part obliterating it, were the substantial remains of Stratum VA/IVB. Dominated by a series of monumental structures, the settlement of Stratum VA/IVB reflects a decisive shift in the character and function of the site. Despite the considerable debate that has occurred in recent years regarding the date of this stratum, there has been general agreement that it, too, experienced a decisive destruction.

In their stratigraphic reconstruction, P.L.O. Guy and the Chicago expedition assigned the impressive architectural remains of Stratum VA/IVB to the reign of Solomon (see, for example, 1 Kings 9:15), and attributed its destruction to Shishak’s 925 B.C.E. campaign. Their case rested in large part on the chance discovery of a stela fragment bearing Shishak’s cartouche. Although the expedition found the inscription in a dump adjacent to a trench excavated by the German engineer Gottlieb Schumacher earlier in the century, Guy was confident that it had come from the earliest stratum uncovered in the trench, namely Stratum VA/IVB.19

Though this stratum would appear to be the logical choice for the original location of the stela fragment with Shishak’s cartouche, the stratum’s formal architecture and evidence of destruction do not eliminate the possibility that the stela originated from another stratum. Guy’s description of its discovery, however, makes clear that Schumacher’s excavations in this area had not reached the destroyed remains of the preceding Stratum VI, rendering it an unlikely candidate for the settlement destroyed by Shishak’s army, as Israel Finkelstein, and Watzinger before him, have proposed.

When we compare the pottery from Stratum VA/IVB with pottery from nearby sites,20 the Stratum VA/IVB settlement clearly dates, in relative chronological terms, to the early Iron Age II period (specifically Iron IIA), or the tenth century B.C.E.21

Recently published radiocarbon dates also reinforce this conclusion. At Tel Rehov, in the Jordan Valley south of the Sea of Galilee, excavations conducted by Amihai Mazar of Hebrew University have uncovered a sequence of well-preserved Iron IIA cultural strata. Most important, carbonized grain samples from several different sealed loci preserved in the destruction of Stratum V there have produced a calibrated date range between 935 and 898 B.C.E. Since Rehov is included in the list of cities conquered by Shishak, his 925 B.C.E. campaign clearly represents the most likely historical event that could have caused the destruction of this stratum at Tel Rehov.22

As noted earlier, the similarity between the Rehov Stratum V assemblage and the pottery of Megiddo VA/IVB confirms their relative contemporaneity. Thus, comparative stratigraphy and the ceramic evidence, together with radiocarbon data and the documentary/epigraphic record, point decisively toward a late-tenth-century date for the destruction of the Stratum VA/IVB settlement at Megiddo, which Shishak I almost certainly brought about.

Of course, a secure date for the destruction of Stratum VA/IVB also helps to narrow the time range possible for the destruction of Stratum VI. The destruction of Stratum VIIA in 1140/30 B.C.E. (as determined by the cartouches of Ramesses III and Ramesses VI) and the destruction of Stratum VA/IVB by Shishak in 925 B.C.E. provide the chronological parameters for the life of Stratum VI. It must have existed for the most part during the 11th century B.C.E., just before, in Biblical terms, the United Monarchy of Israel. If we are to leave a reasonable amount of time for Strata VB-VA/IVB, Stratum VI must have been destroyed toward the end of the 11th century, or early in the tenth century at the latest.23

Since Shishak I could not have destroyed the Stratum VI settlement; the kings of the early Israelite Monarchy remain the only viable, historically attested political figures from this period. Megiddo does not appear to have been part of the territory claimed by the Israelites at the time of Saul’s death (see 2 Samuel 2:8-9), but clearly was within the Israelite realm by the reign of Solomon (see 1 Kings 4:12; 9:15). David (c. 1010-970 B.C.E.) therefore represents the most plausible historical figure responsible for laying waste to the community whose remains are entombed in Megiddo Stratum VI.

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1 See in particular, “The Archaeology of the United Monarchy: An Alternative View,” Levant 28 (1996), pp. 182-183; “The Stratigraphy and Chronology of Megiddo and Beth-Shan in the 12th-11th Centuries B.C.E.,” Tel Aviv 23 (1996), p. 180; “Bible Archaeology or Archaeology of Palestine in the Iron Age? A Rejoinder,” Levant 30 (1998), p. 169; and “State Formation in Israel and Judah; A Contrast in Context, A Contrast in Trajectory,” Near Eastern Archaeology 62 (1999), p. 38.

2 Just before his death, Esse published an important preliminary report on the project, which details his views about Stratum VI, in “The Collared Pithos at Megiddo: Ceramic Distribution and Ethnicity,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 51 (1992), pp. 81-103.

3 The monograph, currently in press, will appear as the next volume of the Megiddo reports published in the Oriental Institute Publication (OIP) series.

4 The uneven treatment of the Stratum VI material excavated in Area CC is seen in the brief description and incomplete plan that appear in G. Loud, Megiddo II; Seasons of 1935-39 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 113 and fig. 410. Breasted did grant Lamon and Shipton permission to publish the Stratum VI material in full, but the projected publication never materialized, and the two were soon preoccupied with processing and analyzing the new data being produced by the Loud excavations.

5 Not just the so-called “degenerated” variety, but true Bichrome Wares as well.

6 For a full description of this vessel, see Benjamin Mazar, “The ’Orpheus’ Jug from Megiddo,” in F.M. Cross, W.E. Lemke and P.D. Miller, Jr., eds., Magnalia Dei. The Mighty Acts of God (New York: Doubleday, 1976), pp. 187-192.

7 Othmar Keel, “Philistine ’Anchor’ Seals,” Israel Exploration Journal 44 (1994), pp. 21-35.

8 Lawrence Stager, “The Impact of the Sea Peoples in Canaan (1185-1050 B.C.E.),” in Thomas E. Levy, ed., The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land (London: Leicester Univ. Press, 1998), p. 346.

9 Samuel Wolff, “An Iron Age I Site at ’En Hagit (Northern Ramat Menashe),” in Seymour Gitin, Amihai Mazar and Ephraim Stern, eds., Mediterranean Peoples in Transition; Thirteenth to Tenth Centuries B.C.E. (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1998), p. 452.

10 Trude Dothan, “Initial Philistine Settlement: From Migration to Coexistence,” in Mediterranean Peoples in Transition, pp. 155-159.

11 In Area CC.

12 Contrary to recent assertions by Finkelstein and others, the Chicago Expedition field records indicate that the excavators were well aware of what they were uncovering, and were careful to separate Stratum VI from earlier and later cultural strata. They were also astute enough to observe that the life of the Stratum VI settlement was long enough to accomodate renovations in some areas of the site. When sub-phasing occurred, therefore, it was recognized as such, and delineated accordingly. In Areas AA and DD, for example, Loud detected an intermediate construction phase and labeled it Stratum VIB to distinguish it from the remains preserved by the final destruction, which he assigned to Stratum VIA.

13 For a similar view, utilizing the concept of trade diaspora, see John Holladay, “The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah: Political and Economic Centralization in the Iron IIA-B (ca. 1000-750 B.C.E.),” in Levy, The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land, pp. 381-382.

14 Letter from Guy to Breasted, dated July 13, 1934.

15 W. F. Albright, “The Song of Deborah in the Light of Archaeology,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 62 (1936), pp. 26-31; and “Further Light on the History of Israel from Lachish and Megiddo,” BASOR 68 (1937), pp. 22-27.

16 R. Lamon and G. Shipton, Megiddo I; Seasons of 1925-34, Strata I-V (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1939), p. 7; and R. Engberg, “Historical Analysis of Archaeological Evidence: Megiddo and the Song of Deborah,” BASOR 78 (1940), pp. 4-7.

17 Carl Watzinger, Tell el-Mutesellim II (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1929), pp. 56-59.

18 Benjamin Mazar, “The Stratification of Tell Abu Hawam on the Bay of Acre,” BASOR 124 (1951), p. 23.

19 P.L.O. Guy, New Light from Armageddon (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1931), pp. 44-48.

20 Yokneam (Stratum XIV), Hazor (Strata X-IX), Tanaach (Stratum IIB), Beth-Shean (Stratum S-1 [=Lower V]), and now also Rehov (Stratum V).

21 Finkelstein argues that similar-looking pottery from the enclosure at Tel Jezreel, which is dated to the ninth century B.C.E., should also be used to date Megiddo Stratum VA/IVB to the ninth century. Despite this similarity, however, the presence of additional vessel types in the Jezreel assemblage that occur elsewhere in stratigraphically later Iron Age contexts place this assemblage later in the Iron Age II sequence.

22 H.J. Bruins, J. van der Plicht and A. Mazar, “14C Dates from Tel Rehov: Iron-Age Chronology, Pharaohs, and Hebrew Kings,” Science 300 (2003), pp. 317-318.

23 Recently published radiocarbon dates from the current Tel Aviv University excavations at Megiddo (which Israel Finkelstein co-directs) have now virtually confirmed this datum. Three samples of carbonized olive wood recovered from Stratum VI (their Level K-4) have produced calibrated date ranges of 1112-1102 B.C.E. (at 10 percent confidence) and 1062-1006 B.C.E. (at 90 percent confidence). See I. Finkelstein, “Bible Archaeology or Archaeology of Palestine in the Iron Age?” p. 170; and I. Carmi and D. Segal, “Radiocarbon Dates,” in I. Finkelstein, D. Ussishkin and B. Halpern, eds., Megiddo III; The 1992-1996 Seasons (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv Univ. Press, 2000), pp. 502-503. Since it is conceivable, however, that these wood fragments might have been in circulation for a considerable period of time after they were first cut from a tree, this radiocarbon evidence can only suggest a general date for the destruction of Stratum VI that falls toward the end of the 11th century, or even later, in the tenth century.

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Megiddo at A Glance

Strategically located on the important Via Maris trade route, ancient Megiddo (Tell el-Mutesellim) was designated “Armageddon” in the Book of Revelation, the site of the ultimate battle at the end of days. Megiddo was settled as early as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (8300-5500 B.C.E.). The Early Bronze Age I (3300-3000 B.C.E.) saw the creation of a large, unfortified settlement in an area to the east of the mound, which today rises 100 feet above the floor of the Jezreel Valley.

From the 20th century B.C.E. through the 12th century B.C.E., Megiddo flourished as a Canaanite city-state. In about 1479 B.C.E. it was conquered by Pharaoh Thuthmose III. Egyptian domination continued for over 300 years.

Canaanite Megiddo was destroyed by fire; the evidence of this destruction is assigned to Stratum VII (discussed by Timothy Harrison in the accompanying article). Somewhat later—the dating is still hotly disputed—the city represented by Stratum VI, which seems to have been of a mixed Israelite and Philistine character, also fell victim to fire. (A contorted skeleton and smashed pottery from this stratum testify to the violence of its end.)

Megiddo rose again in the ninth century B.C.E. as a lavish city, boasting an impressive gate, three palaces and puzzling structures often interpreted as stables. Following Tiglath-pileser III’s conquest of Megiddo in 732 B.C.E., the town became the capital of the Assyrian province Magiddu. By the fourth century B.C.E. Megiddo’s importance waned, and it ceased to be an important site.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; battleground; courville; david; destroyed; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; letshavejerusalem; megiddo; peterjames; rohl; shishak; velikovsky

1 posted on 10/23/2003 4:49:07 PM PDT by blam
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To: Ippolita
ping
2 posted on 10/23/2003 4:56:17 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: VxH
>>>Wanna read ping<<<
3 posted on 10/23/2003 4:58:27 PM PDT by VxH
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To: blam
Thanks
4 posted on 10/23/2003 5:11:44 PM PDT by Raymond Hendrix
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To: blam
The Bible, Christianity and B.C.E. do not go together. The use of B.C.E. implies certain prejudices already in place.
5 posted on 10/23/2003 5:39:23 PM PDT by elephantlips
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To: elephantlips
"The Bible, Christianity and B.C.E. do not go together. The use of B.C.E. implies certain prejudices already in place."

I agree. They want to eliminate the word Christ.

6 posted on 10/23/2003 6:15:17 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
No, I think they are using commonly accepted scholarly language. Which WAS created by people who wanted to take Christ out of it, but which is intended to be acceptable to those who do not accept Christ as either a historical or religious figure. Many of the folks who do the digging in Israel are Jews. Many of them are Arabs. They don't like the idea of using each other's systems of dating, either. Before the Common Era is acceptable to both, and most others, as well. Some of the arguements over the more controversial Christian relics are also argued with dates in the same system. By all sides in the debate, no less.
7 posted on 10/23/2003 7:31:54 PM PDT by Old Student
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To: Old Student
Hadn't considered that, thanks.
8 posted on 10/23/2003 7:47:07 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
The problem here is one of equivilating the Biblical Shishak with the Pharoah Sheshonq (also spelled Shishank)... perhaps, and actually probably, they were NOT THE SAME PERSON! The assumption they are one and the same exists because of two factors: the first is the "accepted" Egyptian time line that is based on the belief that Moses interacted with Ramses (2) the Great, and the second is the mere similarities in names... which are not really similar at all.

This entire problem goes away once you realize that The Saul/David stories are actually contemporaneous with the dynasty that culminated with Tut-Ankh-en-Amon, King Tut. In fact the reports of the events described in the Bible are found in the Amarna Letters, a collection of clay tablet reports from satrap kings, ambassadors and governors of the Levantine area sent to Pharoah's court. These letters include names that would be familiar to any Bible scholar... names such as Jesse, Jonathon, Lebayu (translates as "The Young Lion"... and David's adherents were caller the "followers of the Young Lion!").

The inscriptions at Karnak that list the cities conquered that includes Meggidio ALSO include Jerusalem as a conquered city... the Pharoah who accomplished that task is RAMSES THE GREAT... who was also called among his many names, SehSeh for short, which refers to the two folded bolts of cloth symbols (S) found in the cartouche of his official Royal name.

The Hebrews spoke the Egyptian "Seh" as "Sheh" or "Shah", so the Egyptian name for Ramses of SehSeh would be spoken as "Shehsheh" or "Shahshah" The keepers of the Hebrew oral tradition may not have been able to prevent themselves from adding a "KH" sound to ShehSheh(kh) which translates as "He who destroys or conquers" in Hebrew, making the name of the conquering Pharoah into a descriptive hypocoristicon of his name, a "pun" if you will. Now add in the fact that WRITTEN Hebrew (Particularly early Hebrew) does not include vowels and that vowels were a matter of opinion, it is easy to see how "ShehShehkh" was transliterated into the ShiShak of the Bible!

Incidentally, the fact that Ramses the Great conquered Jerusalem is pretty strong evidence that he could not have been the Pharoah of the Exodus... since Jerusalem had yet to be founded when those events occured.
9 posted on 10/23/2003 10:07:02 PM PDT by Swordmaker
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To: blam
BUMP for later read.
10 posted on 10/23/2003 11:02:32 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee (const tag& constTagPassedByReference)
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To: Swordmaker
"Incidentally, the fact that Ramses the Great conquered Jerusalem is pretty strong evidence that he could not have been the Pharoah of the Exodus... since Jerusalem had yet to be founded when those events occured."

Thanks, good overview. So, when do you think the Exodus ocurred?

11 posted on 10/24/2003 8:41:54 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
So, when do you think the Exodus ocurred?

The traditional Egyptian timeline wants to place the events of the Exodus in the time of the 19th Dynasty (1295-1186 BC). Ramesses II reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC. This would place the Exodus somewhere around 1260BC according to accepted Egyptian chronology... but there is no mention of it or the antecedant plagues in the Egyptian record or other contemporary records of the time... hence a major problem. For some reason, modern archaeologists have chosen to equate this with a problem with the history reported in the Bible rather than question their "house of counterfeit cards" constructed Egyptian timeline based on three pillars, two of which are built on assumptions that are very shaky.

The revised timeline, which has many more points of agreement between events in Egyptian history, events in Biblical narratives, and other contemporary records, would place the birth of Moses in 1527 BC, his escape to the wilderness at age 40 in 1487 BC, and the events of the Exodus somewhere around 1460-1450 BC. This places the Exodus events solidly in the 13th Dynasty... with Pharoah Neferhotep I becoming Moses' (who was probably actually named Ra-MaSeS... hmmmm) Step Father, and Merris, his adoptive mother. Merris would also later become Moses' Step Sister-in-Law when she married her brother (and Moses's Step brother) Khaneferre, who became Pharoah Sobekhotep IV, the Pharoah whose heart would be hardened by God so many times as he bargained with his erstwhile step-brother, Moses, for the freedom of the Israelites.

Looks like about 200 years earlier than current timeline. This would be like wondering why the impeachment of Clinton is not mentioned in the minutes of the 1798-1799 Congress.

12 posted on 10/24/2003 7:02:58 PM PDT by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker
Okay, thanks.
13 posted on 10/24/2003 7:12:54 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam; Swordmaker
blast from the past, no ping. Thanks Blam.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

14 posted on 12/29/2004 6:21:59 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("The odds are very much against inclusion, and non-inclusion is unlikely to be meaningful." -seamole)
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To: 75thOVI; AndrewC; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; CGVet58; chilepepper; ckilmer; demlosers; ...
one last oldie:
Catastrophism

15 posted on 07/22/2006 11:18:44 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (updated my FR profile on Wednesday, June 21, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam
The greatest exposure of Stratum VI occurred in 1934, when an archaeologist named P.L.O. Guy was director of the Oriental Institute’s expedition.

Was that really his name? Funny.

NFP

16 posted on 07/23/2006 7:57:36 AM PDT by Notforprophet (Democrats have stood their own arguments on their heads so often that they now stand for nothing.)
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To: Old Student
When did the use of "CE" and "BCE" come into to use? I never read anything using those terms before the last decade of the 20th century.

When "CE" is used, it refers to after the birth of Christ and "BCE" before the birth of Christ. The refusal to use "BC" and "AD" is a terminology issue only, not having anything to do with realtime dating. It appears to be consistent with the PC movement to marginalize Christianity.

17 posted on 07/23/2006 8:12:16 AM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: William Terrell

I can't swear to it, but I think I ran into it first in the early to mid-70's, while I was still in High School, or just shortly after...


18 posted on 07/23/2006 8:50:25 AM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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19 posted on 03/14/2008 11:11:23 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
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